The Lacuna - Barbara Kingsolver

The Lacuna

By Barbara Kingsolver

  • Release Date: 2009-11-03
  • Genre: Literary Fiction
Score: 4.5
From 339 Ratings


New York Times Bestseller • A Best Book of the Year: New York Times, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, Seattle Times, and Kansas City Star • Winner of the Orange Prize

“Breathtaking. . . dazzling.”  — New York Times Book Review

“Her best novel yet. . . both epic and deeply personal. . . . This is thought-provoking, and potentially thought-changing, historical fiction at its best.” — Dallas Morning News

In this powerfully imagined, provocative novel, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Barbara Kingsolver takes us on an epic journey from the Mexico of artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo to the America of Pearl Harbor, FDR, and J. Edgar Hoover. The Lacuna is the poignant story of a man pulled between two nations as well as an unforgettable portrait of the artist—and of art itself.

Born in the United States, raised in Mexico, Harrison Shepherd lacks a sense of home in either. Life is whatever he learns from housekeepers who put him to work in the kitchen; from errands he runs in the streets; and, one fateful day, by mixing plaster for famed Mexican muralist Diego Rivera. He discovers a passion for Aztec history and the exotic, imperious artist Frida Kahlo, who will become his lifelong friend. When he goes to work for Lev Trotsky, an exiled political leader fighting for his life, Shepherd inadvertently casts his lot with art and revolution, newspaper headlines and howling gossip, and a risk of terrible violence.

Meanwhile, to the north, the United States will soon be caught up in the internationalist goodwill of World War II. There, in the land of his birth, Shepherd believes he might remake himself in America’s hopeful image and claim a voice of his own. Through darkening years, political winds continue to toss him between north and south in a plot that turns many times on the unspeakable breach—the lacuna—between truth and public presumption.

With deeply compelling characters, a vivid sense of place, and a clear grasp of how history and public opinion can shape a life, Kingsolver has created a rich and daring work of literature, establishing its author as one of the most provocative and important of her time.


  • The Lacuna

    By Lissabw
    Incredible. Just when I though Ms. Kingsolver couldn't bowl me over again. What a wonderful story!
  • Thought Provoking

    By Vickles22
    I barely put this book down. A fascinating read with richly developed characters and locales that were brought to life by Barbara Kingsolver's excellent storytelling skills. I will miss Shepard, Frida and Violet. My mind is still mulling over events in their lives. A must read from a great author!
  • Amazing!!!

    By Jfraioli23
    Absolutely beautiful. I found myself taking this book apart slowly, savoring each little word as though somehow I could make it last forever. By far my favorite of her works, and that is saying something.
  • La Cuna

    By Peggy Page
    Wonderful book. Moving, uplifting, smart. Love how it flows through time and cultures. Lush language, startling twists and turns.
  • Beautiful reading.

    By Elizabeth333
    Amazing. Another glorious read from Kingsolver.
  • The Lacuna

    By OutOfHand
    An excellent read, well suited to our times.
  • Excellent!

    By Ragimo
    This book was captivating from start to finish. The history included was made to be very interesting. The main character kept me page turning for more, the development of the characters was phenomenal. I have already recommended it to many friends and family of all reading styles. I just hated for the book to end.
  • Worth reading

    By Ryskalchick
    This book replaces 'The Bean Trees' as my favorite Kingsolver book. It was the first book I have read in a long time that was more then a distraction for my train ride to work; I stayed up all night unable to put it down. Mrs. Kingsolver has a way of story telling that is unique to mainstream authors... If a friend asked me what the story was about, I have no way of answering that does any justice to the way she tells a story... "it's a life story of a boy that goes diving and grows up to work for diego and frida, then goes on to be a writer". It should be read by all, you won't regret buying this book